BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour and during the World War II many of its humble natives were engaged under a military directive to provide assistance for embattled Australian troops along the infamous Kokoda Trail.
This involved supply of ancillary equipment to the frontline offensive and first aid treatment and pastoral care for many sick and wounded Australian soldiers.
It was accomplished under intolerable conditions during heavy combat over rugged terrain in a sweltering jungle rife with tropical diseases such as malaria, cholera and amoebic dysentery.
The alliance and courageous efforts restrained the invasion of Port Moresby (and subsequently Australia) by an indoctrinated and determined Japanese army.
During the barbaric campaign, no sick or wounded Australian soldiers were ever left stranded or abandoned by the unpretentious Papuans, which earned them the eternal gratitude of many Australian diggers and a gracious hallmark of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
Almost eight decades later, many temporary migrants from Papua New Guinea are working in Australia, which is effectively indentured servitude and reminiscent of blackbirding.
The precarious employment arrangements are typically mundane McJobs that were readily available throughout the agricultural, horticultural, retail, health and aged care sectors and often embellished by parasitic labour hiring or recruitment agencies.
During the coronavirus pandemic most students and other temporary migrants lost their jobs and were subsequently excluded from federal government social protection and support packages. ‘We are one but we are many and from all the lands on earth we come.’
Many were left stranded and became disillusioned with the callous response from Australia’s federal government. Limited emergency relief and support including temporary accommodation was eventually provided by via various state governments and humanitarian aid or church groups.
Others received noble assistance from compatriots at several bible study classes and the shallow sophism from Australia’s prime minister resonates: ‘We’re all in this together; we are charting a road through. We are all in.’
On the next state visit to Papua New Guinea the ecclesiastical Australian prime minster should maintain vigilance and be aware of personal security risks.
It is strongly recommended he remains accompanied by a couple of rottweilers or the unrestrained attorney-general and impulsive federal treasurer.
The itinerary must include an excursion to the start of the Kokoda Trail at the aptly named Owers Corner about 50 kilometres east of Port Moresby.
This should enable the three musketeers to reflect on the doctrine of salvation and egalitarian concepts of collective coherence, compassion and communities of practice.
Reading material on the flight from Canberra to Jacksons International Airport at Port Moresby should include the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights although ‘men of power have no time to read; yet men who do not read are unfit for power’.